Rejoice (180GM analogue)


Format: LP, Vinyl

In stock

Release date: 21 Jul 2021
Format: LP, Vinyl
Grade: New (About gradings)
Number of discs: 2
SKU: 56312
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“Join us in our tribute to peace and beauty—walk with us, dance with us, sing with us, rejoice with us—Join us in peace and love” – P. Sanders (1981)

Pure Pleasure Records return with a timely reissue of the saxophone giant Pharoah Sanders’ double album Rejoice, initially released on the Theresa Label in 1981. Recorded in session with a host of stalwart players such as Joe Bonner (Keys), Bobby Hutcherson (Vibes), Art Davis (Double Bass), John Hicks (Keys), Elvin Jones (Drums), Babatunde (Percussion) and Billy Higgins (Drums)—among others—Rejoice is a powerful monument to the spirituality and raw, caustic skill that Sanders channelled through his horn, while deeply evocative of the inherent beauty in music.

Rejoice is an advertisement to Sanders’ unique and multi-faceted playing ability, an album through which he reaches an “evolutionary benchmark of a persistently searching, sincere, uninhibited jazzmaker”. The album was recorded after an ostensible period of creative stagnation, having rediscovered his musical confidence through a string of live performances on the West- Coast Jazz scene which would lead to him to record with former Oakland based jamming partner Ed Kelly. They recorded an album on Theresa called Ed Kelly and Friend—the former having been impressed with Pharoah’s muscular drive and powerful, robust tone—which may or may not have reinvigorated his thirst to create and enlivened his performances on Rejoice; the wellspring behind Sanders’ creative rennaissance.

Sanders’s tutilege under John Coltrane—who discovered him in 1964—rings true and crystalline throughout the album, the inimitable and characteristic wails, the deep crooning melodic overtones and Sanders’ incredible range channel Coltrane’s overaching influences.”Trane played love and magic, listen to the melodies and you will see” goes the lyric in Moment’s Notice, a track that starts off as a piece of sublime vocal jazz and subsquently develops into a spacious sonic suite, allowing each soloist a chance to express themselves. It is a piece of jazz that has Coltrane’s signature chord changes, rhythmical moods and breakdowns riddled throughout; imitation is the grandest form of flattery.

Rejoice, the title track, reflects a deeply spitirual perspective to the music, a track that Sanders dedicated to the God in the original sleeve notes. Hutcherson’s delicate vibe work and Jones’ syncopated and airy drumming elevate the track to ethereal heights, a sweet rhythmic interplay that channels divine, cosmic vibrations. The track thereby becomes a vessel for the spirituality of it’s constituent players, albeit while channeling the strength and playing spirit of Coltrane with concentrated and sharp bursts of saxophone, played off against Sanders’ acute ability to create overtones with his instrument. “The feeling is what few tenors can project—the absolute clarity of every note” Sanders muses about the playing power of Coltrane as one of his major sources of musical inspiration.

The previously recorded Highlife tracks are somewhat of a reprise, a musical idea thought of in great esteem by the majority of the players on the album, connecting the dots with the Triangle Trade phenomenon that brought West African Rhythms to the West-Indies, America and Latin America, culminating in genres such as Calypso, Reggae, Soca, Salsa, Samba and many other Latin forms of music. These are tracks that channel these influences and pay homage to their wider importance in settling the roots for many styles of modern music, rather than adopting specific musical motifs.

Central Park West is a direct nod to Coltrane, a beautiful rendition of the Coltrane-written original, a languid and sensuous cut with smooth, deep sax work melting in amongst a sweetly laden vocal canopy with thick, romping upright bass juxtaposing against Jones’ light brushwork to shimmering effect—A cinematic piece full of atmosphere and feeling. Moreover, Farah shares similar musical attitudes—a song written for and dedicated to Sanders’ eponymously named daughter—a duet between Bonner and Sanders of exquisite beauty and harmonious playing, symobolising the relationship between father and daughter and the bonds of love.

Origin is a Jazz-Dance favourite, an exiting and upbeat affair with Bonner’s expressive, clambering key work emphatically introducing the song, to which the personell respond in full swing, backed by a chorus of female vocals and the cool, metallic timbre of Hutcherson’s vibes, developing on the rhythmic nuances of the track while imparting a sonoric maturity to the soundscape. Bonner comes into his own in the mid section with a powerful and dexterous piano solo, changing key innumerble times and in rapid succession. A brilliant piece of music from start to finish.

Sanders is a true giant of Jazz. Rejoice is one of those rare albums that manages to balance spirituality with serious chops without, invariably, straying off on a-tonal tangents, a body of music rich in influence, history and indentity, yet recorded somewhat as an offering to a higher power, a conduit for Sanders’ spirituality and a powerful artefact to his bountiful self-expression and creativity. There is beauty and hope in the world and this album is a clear cut example of why.

Available in limited quantity on vinyl only for a limited period of time. Certainly a piece of music that belongs in any collection worth its salt.


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